Does the Bible say that Jesus spent three days and three nights in hell (sheol or hades)?
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As I understand it, Jesus did go to hell for a brief period of time, according to Acts 2:31 (Peter is quoting Psalm 16:8-11) but Jesus probably did not go to hell for three days and three nights.
Jesus teaches H.E.L.L. 101"He
(King David) seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that HIS soul was not left in hell, neither HIS flesh did see corruption."
- Acts 2:31
According to Jesus Himself, He would "be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth,"
Matthew 12:40, but that doesn't mean he would be in hell for three days and three nights. In the Bible, Abraham's bosom (also called paradise) and hell are depicted as being side by side with an impassable gulf between them.
"And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence." - Luke 16:22-23.
Possible order of events
- When Jesus died, he went first to the hell part of hades (the underworld), to show his triumph over sin and death, Colossians 2:15.
- Some teach that in hell, Jesus "preached unto the spirits in prison," 1 Peter 3:19, although 1 Pet 3:19 is more likely a reference to people in the days of Noah with whom the Spirit of God strove for 120 years, Genesis 6:3, who were destroyed in Noah's flood, Genesis 6:13, and not a reference to hell.
"For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell..." - 2 Peter 2:4,
- and as He left hell, Jesus took the keys "of hell and of death" from the devil, Revelation 1:18.
It doesn't say how long those events took, probably only a few hours but certainly less than a day, because of Jesus' promise to the dying thief in Luke 23:43 - "To day shalt thou be with me in paradise."
Some people believe that while he was in paradise, Jesus also preached the gospel to the Old Testament saints, those who were saved but had little knowledge of God's complete plan of redemption since they died before Jesus came to earth. They base this belief on 1 Peter 4:5-6.
"Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick (living) and the dead. For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit."
I believe 1 Peter 4:5-6 refers to prophetic truths preached to Abraham and other Old Testament saints in the Old Testament time period instead of referring to Jesus preaching the gospel to the saints in Abraham's bosom or paradise. I base my belief on Galatians 3:8, where the Bible says:
"And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed."
Gospel means "the good news"
so the truth that God was going to save not just the Jews but also the heathen, through faith, Ephesians 2:16, was indeed good news, 1800 years before the birth of Christ.
Jesus spent the remainder of the three days and three nights in paradise and then he ascended up on high and "led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men,"
Some years after the resurrection and ascension of Christ, Paul was caught up to paradise, 2 Corinthians 12:4, "How that he was caught up into paradise..."
which by that time, was in the third heaven, 2 Corinthians 12:2, not in the heart of the earth.
Some believe that when Jesus "led captivity captive,"
He took paradise or at least all the saints in paradise (from the heart of the earth), up to heaven so that paradise is now an empty compartment.
Additional InformationJesus preached on H.e.l.l.
Do homos go to h.e.l.l.?
Surprises in h.e.l.l.
How NOT to go to
H.e.l.l. when you die
Repentance and how to repent
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